diumenge, 13 de gener de 2013

Books I've read in 2012 (2)

Last part of an entry that I should have finished in 2012: the books I read in Spanish and Catalan in the last trimester of last year. Except for one, they were all read in their original language.



Un viejo que leía novelas de amor. Luis Sepúlveda.

A short novel (barely 130 pages) about an old man who, after his wife's death, learns to live in the Amazonic jungle and become part of it. A beautifully written narration from which I didn't know what to expect and surprised me as what matters is not the plot in itself, but letting the words carry you from page to page until the abrupt ending that leaves you wanting for more.


Inés del alma mía. Isabel Allende.

Inés Suárez was a real historical figure, the first Spanish woman to reach Chile at the time it was conquered. She has been portrayed in the pages of history as nothing more than Pedro de Valdivia's concubine, but Isabel Allende did some research on her and the result is this novel. It looked to me like a very romanticised version of history, but it is known that the men who write history tend to "forget" to include or to modify certain inconvenient parts of their doings. Inés del alma mía was a not bad way to being introduced to a part of history that I wasn't aware of. However, I prefer Allende's own fictional creations.



Les filles de Hanna. Marianne Fredriksson (Anna, Hanna och Johanna)

Hanna, Johanna and Anna. Three women from three different generations of a Swedish family of farmers. The first part of the story cover's Hanna's life, born in the late 19th century, who was raped by his employer's son (who also happened to be his cousin) and bore a child, being considered a prostitute by the rest of the villagers. The second part centers on Johanna's life as the youngest and only daughter of Hanna and takes a look at the changes in society caused by WWII. And the third part, which is also used as prelude and intermezzo of the novel, is narrated by Anna, Johanna's daughter, whose life bears more resemblance to that of her grandmother as she is aware of. 

I love family dramas. I love female characters who are strong in spite of having all the odds against them. I love it when the characters feel so real that they could exist and you can compare it to real people that you know. And I was terribly sorry to reach the last page.



Els altres catalans. Francesc Candel.

Based on an article he wrote for a magazine, Candel wrote a whole book about the immigration to Catalonia in the 1960s, comparing it to other migration currents of earlier pre-Civil War decades and illustrating his points with examples of individual people and his own experience as someone not born in Catalonia but who was raised there. The edition that I have (which I won from a contest by Edicions 62, the publishers) is the completely uncensored version, as some passages and pages of the original first edition were cut or changed by the Franco censors.


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